Ergonomic Assessments

Set Up Your Working From Home Station Ergonomically

For many of us, sitting at a desk all day is unavoidable and can leave your body feeling stiff and sore. It’s important to have your computer set up correctly to avoid any neck and lower back issues related to poor ergonomics. Most workplaces look after for this for their employees; however, the pandemic has led to many people working from home and away from their well-set-up desks. As tempting as it may be to sit on the comfy couch or do some work in bed on a cold day, your body would much rather prefer sitting at a desk or table that you’ve spent the time setting up correctly. We’ve provided some useful tips below on how you can work from home and look after your body too.


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Where Should I Set Up My Desk?

  • In a quiet environment with minimal distractions
  • Desk parallel to window to avoid glare
  • Where you can adjust natural light with blinds etc
  • Where you have adequate and even lighting in order to be able to see documents/books
  • With all frequently used items (e.g. pen, paper, phone, headset, mouse, keyboard, water bottle, etc.) within reach

What Type of Chair is Best?

  • A chair that is height adjustable (as most desks / workstations are a set height)
  • A chair with an adjustable back tilt and a 5 star base of support
  • Preferably with no arms to allow you to move closer to the screen and further under the desk
  • High backed for back support and with a lumbar support
  • If this is not available then place a rolled-up towel or cushion in the small of your back

How Should I Position Myself and My Computer?

  • Get the height right. Adjust chair height so that your elbows sit comfortably at a right angle (90 degrees)
  • If your feet cannot touch the floor, use a foot stool or something to rest your feet on so they are flat and supported
  • When sitting, hips should sit at approximately at an angle of 100-120 degrees or just greater than a right angle – this can be achieved by adjusting the seat pan tilt and backrest if your chair is able and knees should be at approximately a 90 degree angle
  • Monitor should sit one arm length away to allow for easy viewing / reading
  • Top of computer screen (i.e. taskbar at top of screen) should be at eye level
  • Of your forearms are supported on the desk – this is then the position of your keyboard, making sure it is lined up directly in front of you. Your fingers should rest comfortably on the middle row of the keyboard.
  • Place mouse close to keyboard
  • Sit with body as close to desk as possible, ensure head and neck are forward facing and avoid sitting at an angle to your monitor
  • If you use dual monitors position yourself either evenly between them if use them on a 50:50 ratio; or directly in front of one screen if you have a main screen and a reference screen
  • Ensure back is supported by backrest on chair
  • Adjust the tilt of the keyboard (achieved by folding or unloading keyboard legs) to a comfortable position for wrist and fingers
  • If able, use a keyboard without a numeric pad, allowing mouse to be in closer reach
  • Tilt computer screen to decrease glare

What About Laptops?

  • Laptops should be used for short periods of time only.
  • It is best that they are placed on a laptop riser or stand, so that the top of the laptop screen is at eye level.
  • An external keyboard and mouse will be required and should be set up the same as for PC

Other Useful Tips

  • Adjust the font size or screen view of your documents to allow for easy reading and to avoid eye fatigue
  • Use headphone (+/-) microphone instead of holding or cradling phone
  • Use a document holder for documents / books. This should be placed close to screen and at the same height and distance as computer screen
  • Use a light-coloured background or wearing blue-light glasses to avoid eye fatigue and glare
  • Standing desks can be very useful in order to break up prolonged sitting positions and set up in same position as for PC on standard desk. A small footstool and alternating placement of feet on stool can help prevent back pain.
  • Take regular breaks. Get up and move around and adjust your eyes by looking into the distance
  • A good ergonomic set up is important for preventing the build up of chronic pain / injuries associated with sedentary roles. However, it is just as important that you move around as much as possible and readjust your posture regularly as sustained positions of any nature can lead to pain. Always remember – your best posture is your next posture!